Charlotte really wanted to go home. By ‘home’ she meant the orphanage she’d been living in for the last year. She wanted to retire to her attic room, curl under her stained blanket, and sleep for the entire week. But no, she had to go to school. You’d think that being held against her will for nine years would get you some time off, she thought bitterly.
People parted ways for her in the halls, pressing their backs into the lockers as though she had a disease. She sighed deeply, pulling her bag up onto her shoulder a little more and setting one foot in front of the other. Her steps were painfully loud on the hard floor. The beat up leather shoes were much too small anyways, a hand me down, just like her clothes. The only thing she could say was hers, and only hers, was her bag. She’d brought it herself with the compensation money, he other couple of million pounds was sat in an account somewhere, and waiting for the day she turned eighteen.
Two years. She just had to survive two years.
Something hit her hard in the back of her head and she stumbled forward a few steps, causing shocked murmers and whispers to run up and down the hall like a viscous wave. She took a deeo breath, trying to calm down so she wouldn’t blush or sweat in embaresment.
Taking another step forward, she thought about it over and over agin, two years, two years, two years.
“Hey, I thought we could talk?” The voice was sugary sweet, and painfully present in Charlottes memories. Carly Ross. “Hey!”
Charlotte turned slowly; finally facing her .carly was stood a few feet away one hand on her hip, looking poised as ever. Blonde curls surrounded her heart shaped face, and her hazel eyes were on Charlotte. She was a bitch, and the entire student body knew it. She hadn’t quit harassing charlotte since the day she arrived six months ago.
“What?” Charlotte asked, in a truly bored tone. Carly smiled brightly, but it was as fake as most of her hair. Charlotte looked her up and down, making sure she wasn’t subtle in any way. “Can I help you?”
“You know, I saw your parent’s o the news this morning!” Carly trilled “Can you show us the thing?”
“What thing?” Charlotte questioned with a sigh to show how little she cared. Everyone who was anyone had seen her parents on the news; it was still a hot topic.
“The thing with the red eyes? But only if you can do it without nearly killing us all.” Carly smiled like she’d won. It took every ounce of charlottes self control not to run and strangle her, but she managed. Charlotte was not a temperamental person, at least she didn’t think so, but when you’d been dealing with someone as annoying as carly for so long, it became difficult.
“I’m sure that someone finds you funny. Unfortunately, that person is not me,” Charlotte said with a side smirk, using the back of her hand to brush her hair out of her eyes. Carly’s face turned into stone, her expression murderous. Taking it as a victory, Charlotte spun back around, walking with a little more of a strut in her step.
“You know, I wish they’d just shot you instead of-“
“Go fuck yourself! Honestly, with the amount of money your daddy spends on presents for his hot blonde assistant, you’d have thought he could purchase something to make you likable.” Charlotte said without taking a breath, turning back round so fast she should’ve gotten whiplash “Or did he use that cash to pay for the divorce from your lump of a mother?”
Carly’s face passed hundreds of emotions before settling on anger. Charlotte hadn’t crossed the line first; she didn’t feel bad at all.
“You’re such a bitch.” Carly whispered. Charlotte shrugged her shoulders as to say ‘I know’.
Without a second’s hesitation, Carly bolted across the small space between them, shoving charlotte backwards and onto the floor before going down after her. Charlottes head hit with a sickening thud and the people who had been on either side began to gather around. Suddenly they were all crying out for whom they wanted to win, and they were very mixed. On one hand, charlotte was scary, but she was also good enough to stand up to Carly. Carly bullied and harassed everyone she could, but she also scared everyone, making them afraid to call out charlottes name.
“Gah!” Charlotte cried, rolling so she was looking down on Carly, grabbing a fistful of her hair in the process. Carly cried out, and reached up to scratch across Charlottes face, narrowly missing her eyes that she’d been so desperate to claw out.
“Get off of me!” Carly screamed, bringing her legs up to connect with Charlotte’s stomach. Charlotte felt all of the air knocked out of her as she gasped, falling onto the floor next to Carly, clutching her stomach with both hands. It suddenly occurred to Charlotte that she may as well give up if she was just going to lie there, and she never gave up.
Charlotte pulled herself onto one elbow before throwing herself onto Carly, yanking out some of her hair extensions as soon as she was there. Throwing the lump of blonde hair over her shoulder, she stopped Carly’s hand in mid air as it came up to punch her.
“God!” Charlotte screamed as Carly smacked her across the cheek. She wheezed, already out of breath from the kick, and now stinging across the face as she pushed Carly down and got to her feet, swaying as the world span around her. No, it didn’t just spin, it twisted and turned and rocketed and jump around in her vision as she grabbed a locker for support.
Carly stood up and let put a scream before launching herself towards charlotte. Charlotte moved swiftly to the side and Carly ran straight in the lockers, screaming as her head hit. She turned around with a bleeding nose. Charlotte decided that she no longer looked put together, she looked athletic.
“Did that hurt?” Charlotte asked sarcastically, smirking at Carly before Carly set forwards again. Charlotte didn’t want to hurt her too badly, so she simply blocked the punch that swung towards her face, and pushed her leg down as it went up to her stomach. Charlotte stepped back, away from a bleeding Carly.
“Go to hell!” She screamed, shoving Charlotte’s shoulders backwards. Charlotte glared at her, before pushing her back.
In them few moments, charlotte believed she was imagining things. There was no logical way that Carly could have just flown to the other end of the hall and crashed into the wall. There was no way charlotte was that strong, she couldn’t be. Carly couldn’t be lying in a bleeding heap, and her neck certainly couldn’t be twisted at that angle. There was no way.
Everyone began to back away, their faces scared and confused, as charlotte stared down at her own hands that surely weren’t her hands, because she couldn’t do that. There was no way. No way in hell. She took in a shaky breath, trying to stay calm, even though her mind was on overdrive.
“I-I do-I-just...” she stammered, swallowing back a sob. A tear fell down her cheek, although she couldn’t explain why, because there was no way shed killed Carly. A hand went to her mouth, trying to keep her words trapped inside her before she could do any more damage.
Without considering why, she began walking towards Carly, praying with every fibre of her being that she wasn’t dead. She couldn’t be dead. But all she could hear was the replaying crash of her hitting the wall and falling to the floor with a crunch, it was going on replay in her headed
“Don’t touch her!” A voice screamed from the crowds, freezing charlotte in her step. She looked up, at the accusing glares and terrified looks that were surrounding her. Teachers had come out of the classrooms, and were looking at he as though she was a monster, which she was.
She spun around, looking for any evidence that she hadn’t killed her. But the pool of blood surrounding her told a different story.
“You killed her.”
“She was right about you!”
The shouts just got louder, as charlotte placed her hands over her ears, squeezing tight, but it filled her head, and it was all she could hear. Tears streaming down her face, she spun on her heels and ran for the exit, no one daring to try and stop her.
She pushed the double doors open, stepping through them and into the cold December day, hugging herself and realising she left her bag behind, dropping it at some point in the fight with Carly. She wiped her hands across her face and let her legs move. She ran, with nowhere to go, and no objective except to escape. And she wasn’t running for her, she was running because she wanted to protect the people back at the school.
The wind whipped her dark hair behind her as she went, rushing forwards. Police cars rounded the corner ahead of her, sirens on and heading for the school. She jumped behind a bush in someone’s front garden, and they passed her by. Her heart was beating too fast, it felt like it would burst out of her chest and abandon her at any point, because hearts had a tendency to do that. She leaned there for a few more seconds, shaking her head in disbelief. She couldn’t just get through the day, and she let herself be provoked, like an idiot.
Balling her hands into fists, she cursed the tears falling down her face. She was sixteen years old, she had to be stronger than this, and she had to pick herself up.
She sniffed and stood up, walking out of the strangers beautiful front garden and pulling down the sleeves of her baggy black jumper, and pulling up her dark blue jeans. She walked around and then set off again, feet slapping against the concrete. She needed somewhere to hide from the police, just for the moment, until she could get somewhere safer. Until she could leave the country.
She knew there was a hotel around the corner, it was a little sleazy and she had no money, but she knew that you always aid after you’d spent the night, so she’d just sneak out.
Setting towards it, she ran along the sidewalk, barely noticing the pan that kept growing in her chest, she was too busy checking behind her and worrying to concentrate or think about pain.
She was almost there when the sirens began to come towards her. Panic rose in her chest like a living breathing thing, constricting her lungs and forcing her to think quickly, quicker than she could. She saw the opening and dashed into an alley a few feet away, running through the old fliers and muck and ducking behind a dumpster.
But she was so tired of hiding.
She’d been sat there for more than forty minutes, shaking from fear and cold, when she saw a beautiful boy in front of her, and he offered her his hand “You need a ride? Something tells me it’s been a bad day.”